Magnitude 4.9 earthquake hits near Victoria, felt across Metro Vancouver

UPDATE: An earlier version of this story reported the earthquake as 5.1 magnitude, according to initial information from the federal Earthquakes Canada agency. The number has been changed to 4.9 based on information from U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

A 4.9 magnitude earthquake hit near Victoria at 11:39 p.m. on Tuesday, causing tremors that were felt across Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands. 

Translink tweeted that the Expo and Millennium SkyTrain were shutting down for the time being until safety could be confirmed.

 

According to a 2014 auditor general report, B.C. is not prepared for a major earthquake. Experts say a 7.3 magnitude earthquake would result in nearly 10,000 deaths, with some buildings suffering extensive damage or collapsing entirely. 

Although there have been recent earthquake drills to prepare for a major quake, seismic upgrading for B.C. schools were pushed back 10 years to 2030 in March due to disagreements over the scope of repairs needed.

The last major earthquake to hit B.C. was on Vancouver Island in 1946.

In a 2012 interview with Vancouver Observer, a B.C.-based firefighter who helped Japan recover from the 9.0 magnitude earthquake in 2011 suggested Vancouver was poorly equipped for earthquakes, and that downtown Vancouver especially was dangerous due to the large number of glass towers. 

 

Storify by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud

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